Abuse is the treatment of others or self in a way that causes injury or offense. It harms the mind and the spirit and often injures the body as well. It can cause confusion, doubt, mistrust, and fear. It is a violation of the laws of society and is in total opposition to the teachings of the Savior. The Lord condemns abusive behavior in any form—physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional. Abusive behavior may lead to Church discipline.
Those who have been abusive in any relationship are urged to repent of their sin, to plead with the Lord for forgiveness, and to ask for forgiveness from those who have been harmed. Those who have been abusive should also speak with their bishop or branch president so he can help them through the repentance process and, if necessary, help them receive additional counseling or other assistance. Part of the repentance process may also include accepting whatever penalties are imposed by law.
Victims of abuse should seek help immediately, normally from their bishop or branch president. His first responsibility is to help those who have been abused and to protect those who may be vulnerable to future abuse.
Victims of abuse should be assured that they are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others. They do not need to feel guilt. If they have been a victim of rape or other sexual abuse, whether they have been abused by an acquaintance, a stranger, or even a family member, victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sexual sin.
Victims of abuse can seek help from their priesthood leader to guide them through the process of emotional healing. Through the blessings of the gospel, victims of abuse can stop the cycle of abuse and be freed from the suffering they have experienced.